On Monday night, two days after comedian Michelle Wolf delivered a divisive roast routine during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, several comedians—from Judd Apatow to Jimmy Kimmel to Wolf’s former employer Seth Meyers—have come to her defense.
Now, you can add Dave Chappelle’s name to the mix.
Speaking to PBS NewsHour, the legendary stand-up comic voiced his support for Wolf and criticized the backlash she’s received from those on the left and right—including a number of journalists who ostensibly wish to maintain a degree of access to the administration, like The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, who either misinterpreted or intentionally misrepresented Wolf’s jokes about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“I really respected what I saw. I don’t know who those people are that she—she can’t say that to them, ’cause they offend people all the time,” Chappelle said of the Trump administration’s pushback against Wolf. “And I think that for many people, not everybody who watched it, but for many people, it’s cathartic to watch that woman speak truth to power like that.”
He continued: “And whether they understand it or not, there was an enormous amount of levity in what she did. But it was very flat-footed and it was grounded in her truth, and whether I agree with it or not, I gotta respect the artistry. I gotta respect the gangsta. I know how hard it is to do what she did in front of that lame-ass crowd. And she—I think she nailed it. I thought it was beautiful. And I—I didn’t see her pander once and I thought that was beautiful.”
There is a connection here too: Chappelle is best friends with comedian Chris Rock, who’s been a mentor to Wolf. She recently told The Daily Beast that she helped write jokes for him when he hosted the Oscars, and later opened for him on a European tour.
Wolf’s new Netflix show, The Break, premieres on the streaming service May 27.